My brain is a difficult and confusing place. See, I hate change. So scary! It’s a need for the illusion of control that makes me less prone to rattle things up. The devil you know, right?
But on the flip side, I love the way a big, sweeping change can feel like a fresh start. Whether it’s a new week or a new year, I’m apt to rally momentum around a new beginning.
The fear of change is one a big reason why I’ve been at my current barn in Austin for a very long time. The love of a “new beginning” is a big reason why I started blogging again.
I’m moving Poet to a new barn this week, which has both given me a renewed fervor for riding and also is frankly terrifying. It’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but I made the decision a few months ago. It’s not because of his injury. Horses do stupid, unpredictable things, mine doubly so, and that is not anyone’s fault. But all the of wrapping and hand grazing gave me a lot of time to think about what I want and what I need out of a riding program.
I moved to my current barn in early 2013, a little under a year after I got Simon. It was probably the best choice I’ve made since moving to Austin. I met almost all of my closest friends in this city at the barn. My trainer gave me so much confidence, and was an essential part of making countless riding dreams come true. The success story that was Simon wouldn’t have been possible without her. I will always be grateful.
It’s a beautiful property with the best turnout in the city. The horses are happy. I love how my trainer has ridden and trained Poet. She is kind and caring and an extremely good human (how many horse professionals can you say that about?). And although we’re all a crazy, slightly dysfunctional group of adult amateur horse owners, we all love our horses and do our best to put their well-being first. It really is an amazing facility.
So, why am I leaving?
That’s harder to articulate. Although I know “make it or break it” thinking is way too black and white for the horse world, Poet feels like my “chance” at a nice show horse. His current training puts him clearly on that path, but I’m a big part of this equation. Right now, I’m struggling a lot with my riding and my mental toughness in the barn. I need a lot of hand holding and detailed, individualized feedback to feel successful. For all the reasons I listed above, my current trainer’s business has exploded in the last few years. It’s a huge program now, and I’m looking for something smaller with more individualized opportunities. Plus, my career (and life outside horses) demands more and more of my time. While I’d love to be able to go out to the barn every day, I simply can’t do it and thrive in other areas of my life. I’m not a weekend warrior, and hope to never be, but my happy place is riding 3-4 days a week versus needing to go out there much more.
I’m moving to a smaller program that’s a bit further out from my house. It’s similar to a Texas version of the barn I trained at in California, at least that’s my impression so far.
My current trainer, being the amazing person that she is, said I’m always welcome to come back if it isn’t a good fit. Which makes the change a little less scary, but I’m still a bit worked up about it. Our barns are more than a place where we ride and write a check to each month. It’s a huge part of my life. Though I’m very excited about the opportunities I may have with a new program, I’m also sad to leave a place that has felt like home for close to 8 years.
He ships over on Wednesday, and I’m sure there will be a slurry of posts about the new things in our future. But I wanted to give some space to the big decision and all of the good things I’m leaving. They are significant, and regardless of where I end up I’m so thankful for the people and that place.